Technology has been a game changer in many industries, with companies using it to help appeal to a wider range of ages and to help their internal processes too.
In the protection industry, technology has been able to help providers engage with younger clients, often referred to as millennials, in particular.
But protection providers have been accused of not being very quick to adapt to the changing needs of customers by using technology.
In fact, many believe the sector is still some way behind where it should be if it wants to engage new and younger clients.
Closing the gap
Paul Yates, product strategy director at iPipeline, believes tech has helped in two ways.
He explains: “Firstly, technology is helping to engage younger users, making them aware that they have a protection need and nudging them to do something about it.
“Second, it is using technology to make the process simpler and faster to source and buy protection products. There have been huge strides over the past three years, but we still need to up our game if we are to close the massive UK protection gap.”
BlackRock’s Investor Pulse survey, which was conducted in the first quarter of 2017 among 4,000 people, 750 of whom were millennials, found six in 10 millennials (those aged 25-34) in the UK manage their everyday savings at least once a week online or on a mobile or tablet device.
If this is the case, then it stands to reason that protection providers will be better able to communicate with this generation if they too adopt the right technology.
Speaking to FTAdviser back in August 2017, Nick Telfer, head of product and propositions at British Friendly, acknowledged new technology was an “ongoing challenge” for the protection industry.
In answer to a question about whether the protection industry has adapted by introducing technological advances to produce ranges, he replied: “I think it’s something we haven’t probably as an industry been great at.
“We need to be more mindful of what our potential customers expect from a company that’s trying to get them to buy something from them.
“We’re seeing more and more protection advisers or intermediaries looking at new ways of distributing,” he added.
Mr Telfer revealed a mutual benefits programme set up by British Friendly for all its members is starting to use more technology.
“For example, one of the key benefits we have within mutual benefits is a relationship with Square Health, who are a long-established company providing a medical screening service and other services to insurers, and they’ve developed a customer-facing proposition which we’ve embedded using a unique app they’ve developed,” he explained.
“That allows our members using this app to get a virtual GP appointment, to get a medical second opinion, or arrange physiotherapy or counselling.”